View of Brighton under Attack


This is a depiction of Brighton under attack. It is by the court draughtsman Anthony Anthony, who would have worked from locally supplied information. It shows the French attack on Brighton in 1514. In 1511, King Henry VIII (1491–1547), urged by Cardinal Wolsey, joined his father–in–law King Ferdinand II of Aragón, Pope Julius II, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, the Swiss cantons, and the Venetians in the a war known as the Holy League, against France. In 1542 war with France resumed and this map – which recreates the French attack of 1514 – was executed because of the real and present threat of another such invasion. England’s fears were realised when, on July 19 1545, the French entered the Solent and landed on the Isle of Wight. The presence of the English Navy and the dangerous currents in the area deterred the French from attempting to capture Portsmouth and by August the imminent threat was over. 

The map reveals that it is not contemporary with the raid it depicts, as the ship types depicted date from after 1514. Details include the defending forces advancing down the road to the beach and a lit beacon that served to alert the locality.

Full title:
Map depicting a naval assault upon Brighton, (?)1514
c. 1539-1545
Manuscript / Illustration / View
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Cotton MS Augustus I i 18

Full catalogue details

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